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U.S. House Rejects Anti-Racism Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed to pass an anti-racism bill. The vote recorded 254 in favor, 152 against, and 24 who avoided the issue by voting “present.”

The original bill included language that specifically condemned the Council of Conservative Citizens based on its racist agenda. According to Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), House Republicans replaced the original wording with more general language denouncing “all those who practice or promote racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice or religious intolerance” because “so many Republican leaders have been associated with this racist group.”

The sponsor of the original bill, Rep. Bob Wexler (D-FL) stated that the GOP changes were “designed only to derail our resolution and if successful hand the CCC an unconscionable victory.” Black Republican J.C. Watts (R-OK), denied this charge and said the original language would have protected other racist groups by singling a particular group.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS), Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) have both spoken before the CCC. Both have denied knowledge of the group’s racist agenda. CCC’s CEO, Gordon Baum, also denied these charges in a statement and called the House bill “the product of left-wing partisans who seek to silence all conservative expression.”

Sources:

AP - March 24, 1999